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Smokes-N-Cokes: 1939

Smokes-N-Cokes: 1939

September 1939. "Students on steps of building between classes. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Orange County." Medium format negative by Marion Post Wolcott for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Let the games begin.

Big stairs with ledges beside them, smooth columns... the steps don't quite match Morehead Planetarium or Manning Hall, Gardner is missing the columns, Wilson Library has fluted columns, and Carroll wasn't built until 1955.

I am thinking it's a building that no longer exists.

[It's the UNC South Building. Still very much there. - Dave]

Edit: I figured it was one of the older ones, but couldn't make it downtown to confirm on a weekend. Thanks!

Jocks and Bobby Socks

I also believe the injured guys are school athletes. My father was of this generation and said back then boxing was the only sport in which smoking was discouraged.

Fast forward to the early 1970s when I played high school football: the coach issued a list of possible infractions for team members and the corresponding punishments (if caught). I found the list a couple of years ago as I purged things I no longer need. What stood out to me in these modern times is that the punishment for smoking was far less severe than the punishment for swearing.

Banged Up

I notice a broken finger on one guy and a cast on the left foot of the other. I wonder if we're looking at a couple of members of their football team, which was pretty good (8-1-1) that year.

My dad vividly remembers the old days of university attire, especially a guy who washed his dark gray slacks with his towels. He joked that he had all semester to clean the lint off. (Moms, teach your sons to do laundry!)

Classic Coke

Ahhh!! Ice cold Coca-Cola in a glass bottle right out of the machine. 5 cents for 6 ounces at the gas station next to my house in the '50s and '60s. Made with cane sugar, not corn syrup. I can get still the "Real Thing" with sugar, made in Mexico, at my local supermarket. Takes me back!

I'll be buried in 'em

Florsheim Kenmoor wingtips. You can still buy them and they last a lifetime.

The lost art of conversation

Today, they'd all be texting.

I'm 40 years younger than these students and 40 years older than the students of today. I suspect that I would have more in common with the students of 1939.

Tough classes in college

Careful on those steps. Crutches, foot in cast, and finger in splint. Jeez!

Hope they quit that terrible addiction of smoking

A friend of mine used to say the exact same thing. "Coke and a Smoke."

Had a massive coronary at 67. Smokes are finished. Still has a Coke now and then.

Most of the guys I knew

would dress in jeans, a sport coat or cardigan sweater and a thin tie, popular then in the early '60s. We always dressed that way and no one that I can remember came to our Junior College looking like a slob or so casual that it bordered on disrespect for the college and classmates. If I were in college today I would still dress that way to show that I appreciate where I am and the education I was receiving. But that's just me.

[If you were in college today, you'd do what you did 55 years ago -- dress the way your friends do. - Dave]

Walking Wounded

This is a tuff school. One guy is on crutches with a cast on his left foot. The guy to his right has a broken finger. I wonder what's wrong with the rest of them?

Accident Prone?

One guy has a broken finger and another has his foot in a cast. Also, everyone has a cigarette in their hand except for the guy sitting on the steps, but that is only because we can't see if he has one too.

A snazzier time.

It's interesting to see students at college dressed a lot nicer than they dress nowadays. When I was in college in the early 00s, it was nothing to see someone roll into class, still in their pajamas. I never did that, but I'm guilty of having worn sweatpants/lounge pants more than jeans or something dressier. I certainly never saw any male student in a suit and tie. You were lucky to find a guy in a t-shirt that didn't have a food stain on it!

Battered and bruised

Looks like Chester's foot is messed up (and he's got crutches), and Skippy's finger is in a splint! Okay, time to come up with a good story; after all, there's a girl here to impress!

Injury Update

Two of our seated smokers appear to have injuries: one to the right hand, and the other to the left foot.

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